Welcome to the 12th week of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!
Here’s what’s in the share:
- Basil – Need tips on how to store basil? Click here
- Chard or Broccoli
- Bunching Onions
- Summer Squash
- Tomatoes – slicers or cherries
- Salad Mix
- Plums – Eat the soft ones, let the harder ones have a sit on your counter to soften up. For the hot weather this week I’m thinking popsicles and/or cocktails are in order!
Somehow we’ve found ourselves deep into summer and in August no less! It’s that time of year when we begin realizing the need to fill the pantry shelves and stock the freezer. The cucumbers need to be pickled! The basil needs to be made into pesto or dried! There’s jam to be made and fruit to freeze! Before long there will be piles of tomatoes to put up!
The last six months have been a long build up to this season of bounty and it’s hard not to panic a little in the midst of it. I can’t help thinking that it would be a very long winter if we didn’t make a little time now to preserve this summer goodness. Does this happen to other folks too?
Seeing more fruit than we’d like fall to the ground this past week, we found ourselves scheduling in time to pick apples and plums before we lost them. The gravenstein apples are another variety we’ve come to love, in addition to the yellow transparents we shared with you a few weeks back. These early season varieties seem early for apple season, but we appreciate them for the tartness they bring to the fruit-filled days of late July. Although the yellow transparents are past, we’ll be sharing gravensteins with you in the coming weeks! And of course our other apple varieties (and pears too!) will ripen up in the coming months and will either make an appearance in your share or at the cidering event in October.
The season for the first of our three plum varieties is also coming to a close. We’re still not sure what these are officially, but my current guess is Santa Rosa or something similar. I’ve mentioned to some of you at the CSA pick-up that this is the first year in three years that we’ve seen plums on these trees. They flower super early and our spring weather doesn’t always cooperate. This year we had a break in the rain and the bees got out to help pollinate. Now the bees are partaking in the harvest too, as you can see in the photos above.
We hope you’ve been enjoying this fruit as much as we have. I’m thinking there will be plum BBQ sauce, plum jam, and perhaps plum butter in our near future. It looks like the next plum variety won’t be too far behind this one. Again were not sure of the upcoming variety, but we’re looking forward to it nonetheless.
Hopefully this summer is treating you well. Are you making time to put away food for the winter, or even get a jar of pickles in the refrigerator? We’d love to hear about successes and failures. And we’re always on the lookout for preserving recipes! Let us know what you’ve been up to this summer.
Enjoy the vegetables!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Corn and Radish Salad with Jalapenos and Lime
- 4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 4 ears)
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
- 6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chilies
Farmers’ Market Pappardelle
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 1/2 pounds multicolored cherry tomatoes, halved (quartered if large)
- 3 ears corn, shucked
- 1 1/2 pounds medium zucchini
- 8 to 9 ounces dried egg pappardelle or dried egg fettuccine
- 1/4 pound sugar snap peas, strings discarded and peas halved diagonally
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (optional)
- 1 cup small basil leaves, torn if large
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- 1/3 cup snipped chives
Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of well-salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then stir together with vinegar, oil, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add tomatoes and stir gently, then set aside.
Cook corn in boiling water until tender, 4-6 minutes, then remove with tongs and cool.
While corn cools, peel lengthwise ribbons from 1 side of a zucchini with vegetable peeler into another bowl, stopping when you get to seedy core. Turn zucchini a quarter-turn, then peel more ribbons, stopping at core. Repeat on remaining 2 sides of zucchini (you will end up with rectangular-shaped cores). Reserve cores for another use (such as soup).
Cut corn from cobs; add corn to tomatoes.
Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Just before pasta is done, stir in zucchini ribbons and snap peas and cook 15 seconds. Drain pasta and vegetables together in a large colander and add to tomato mixture with onion (if using), then toss gently.
Add herbs and toss gently again.
Smoked Summer Tomato Basil Butter
- 2 large smoked tomatoes (see Cook’s Note), peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- Kosher or sea salt to taste
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. (You can prepare the butter 2 to 3 days in advance and store it, covered, in the refrigerator.) Bring to room temperature before serving.
Cook’s Note: To smoke tomatoes, first cut out the cores so the smoke can reach inside then place the tomatoes in a disposable aluminum pan that will fit on your grill.
Drizzle the tomatoes with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper or just go plain.
Prepare an indirect fire in your grill, with a medium-hot fire on one side and no fire on the other. If you have a charcoal grill, soak 1/2 cup wood chips (mesquite gives the most smoke flavor) in water for 30 minutes before smoking; if you have a gas grill, place dry wood chips in your grill’s metal smoker box or fashion an aluminum foil packet, enclose the dry chips, and poke holes in the top of the foil. When ready to grill, drain, then scatter the soaked wood chips on the charcoal fire, replace the grill rack, and place the pan of tomatoes on the indirect (or no-fire) side. For a gas grill, place the packet of dry wood chips in the back of a gas grill over direct heat; place the tomatoes on the indirect (or no-fire) side. When you see the first wisp of smoke, close the lid of the grill and smoke the tomatoes until they have a burnished appearance and a smoky aroma, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the grill and let cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, slip off the tomato skins, remove most of the seeds, and chop the tomatoes.